DURANGO, Colo. – Singer/songwriter Anaïs Mitchell presents “Colorado Sings Hadestown” at the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College, Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011. Mitchell and Jefferson Hamer will open the show at 7:30 p.m. with a performance of Child Ballads.
A songwriter of startling clarity and depth, Anaïs Mitchell has proven herself a brilliant poet and storyteller in her latest work Hadestown. Fearlessly emotive, she weaves her stories into an effortlessly beautiful and cohesive tapestry.
Noted Folk and Acoustic Music Review, "When 98 percent of what passes as music today lacks even the remotest twinge of an idea, thought, emotion or worse – heart – Hadestown and Anaïs Mitchell deserve all the listeners and accolades we can give. Pass it on."
The daughter of a novelist and English professor, Mitchell explains that her childhood home was “a library full of novels, and lots of old folk and psychedelic rock albums. The books and the records all lived in the same room, which I am sure led to me thinking of songwriting as a kind of literature, a noble poetic enterprise.”
Her early influences ranged from the country ballads of the Carter Family and the hard-edged cabaret of Brecht and Weill, to the story-songs of Randy Newman and the narrative scope of Pink Floyd’s The Wall – plus the intricately crafted tales of her namesake, bohemian feminist Anaïs Nin. Additionally, while her parents wouldn’t purchase their daughter a trendy coat or a video game, they thought nothing of sending her off to Europe or Japan. Mitchell ended up studying in Costa Rica, Austria and Egypt.
In 2002 Mitchell took an early stab at recording a self-released album, and two years later she made the disc she considers her true debut: Hymns for the Exiled. The project brought producer/musician Michael Chorney into the mix as a frequent collaborator. Mitchell went on to release two more critically acclaimed works, followed in 2010 by her most ambitious, Hadestown.
Hadestown is an epic “folk opera” and a contemporary version of the classic tale of Orpheus and his doomed quest to rescue his love Eurydice from the Underworld. In Mitchell’s hands, however, the familiar saga is re-imagined in a United States that simultaneously evokes the Depression-era past, the current financial tribulations, and a post-apocalyptic future. It’s a land where people hide behind walls in a misguided attempt to preserve their “freedom” and protect their riches. At its core, Hadestown is a love story set at a time “when the chips are down” – an epic tale on a personal scale, a saga both ancient and new, mythical and all too real. The music ranges from classic American folk forms such as country gospel, ragtime, blues and early jazz to approximations of rock, swing and avant-garde – all of it said to be “immediate, accessible and inviting.”
Wrote blogocritics.org, "It's a musical opera that's unlike any opera you've ever witnessed. It's Indie rock mixed with Dixieland. It's Homer's Odyssey as performed by Pink Floyd."
Mitchell has been touring the country with Hadestown, incorporating regional artists in the various roles. She will continue in the role of Eurydice, with Reed Foehl as Hades, KC Groves as Persephone, Jefferson Hamer as Orpheus and Esme Patterson, Sarah Anderson, Genny Patterson (Paper Bird) as The Fates, backed by Michael Chorney and the Hadestown Orchestra.
Sample songs from “New York City Sings Hadestown,” captured in January 2011, at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUdVSfSmiVE&feature=related.
Tickets for Anaïs Mitchell presents: “Colorado Sings Hadestown” ($18/$25) are available on-line at www.durangoconcerts.com or by calling 970.247.7657, or at the Ticket Office in Downtown Durango at 7th St. and Main Ave. All sales final.
Showtime is 7:30 p.m., with doors to the Concert Hall and concessions, serving beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages and snacks, opening at 6:30 p.m.
The Community Concert Hall is a not-for-profit, multi-use performance venue located on the campus of Fort Lewis College. Its ability to bring a diverse spectrum of shows to Southwest Colorado is made possible through a partnership with the college, a state-supported, independent institution of higher education, and through financial and in-kind contributions from generous members of the community.